The Pope, Prostitutes, And Pronouncements

Yesterday, I had a lazy day at home thinking about male prostitutes.

I should probably explain that a little. What I was specifically thinking about was the Pope’s pronouncement about the use of condoms by male prostitutes.

The Holy See has decided that using condoms is a legitimate way to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS when used by male prostitutes.

Pope Benedict then went on to say condom use

“can be a first step in the direction of moralisation, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants… [A] first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.”

The thoughts that came to my mind when I was considering this momentous move from the Vatican were these:

1) He was very specific to mention male prostitutes. So only those who aren’t able to create life should be using condoms. The very fact that he specifically mentions male prostitutes is also an admission by the church that people who the church believes shouldn’t be having sex at all, do in fact have sex. And rather a lot of it. This is a big admission from the Roman Catholic church.

2) Just how many men who have either had to resort to, or have made a lifestyle choice to be, a male prostitute are such strong believers in Catholic doctrine that they’ve been waiting for a Papal Bull or Encyclical about condoms before deciding to use them? Surely that they are working as prostitutes and having sex with other men, both specifically prohibited by the Catholic church, means they probably weren’t all that fussed about adhering to the other prohibitions from the Vatican, like no use of contraception.

Don’t misunderstand me. The Pope’s announcement should definitely be welcomed as a step in the right direction. I hope that it does help toward the prevention of the spread of HIV and other STIs. But the Vatican needs to go a lot further in addressing all the many and various hypocrisies involved in its views of sex and sexuality in the 21st-century.

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